written by:
July 28, 2015
Openings align at either end of these transparent homes.
Asymmetrical Handmade Cabin, The Netherlands

Fine craftsmanship underlies this collaboration between Zecc Architects and designer Roel van Norel in the quiet forest north of Utrecht. Bert Oostenbruggen planned the home's basic structure, including its unusual shutters, while van Norel handmade its bespoke wooden interior. The result is a thoughtful, versatile cabin that Oostenbruggen says lets the owners "flee daily life" while taking in as much or as little of nature as they like. 

Courtesy of 
Roel van Norel
Originally appeared in This Light-Filled Cabin in the Netherlands Is Completely Made by Hand
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murren prefab residence exterior

Jim Murren’s prefab house in Sin City, designed by Marmol Radziner, is as artful as it is art-filled, thanks to an asymmetrical arrangement of solids and voids. The modular two-story steel-and-glass structure sits atop a windy ridge on the city’s western edge, near Red Rock Canyon.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in A Desert Prefab Hits the Jackpot in Sin City
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watanbe japan home design

Located in a hidden valley on the picturesque Izu Peninsula, a few hours west of Tokyo, the Watanabe Residence looks more like an imposing black box propped amidst the wooded landscape than a model of environmental friendliness. Architect Tadashi Murai designed this remote retreat for a Tokyo transplant who abandoned his corporate existence.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Simply Sustainable
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Modern sustainable house by the beach

The Casa Cuatro sits above a 180-foot cliff in Chile that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. The locally quarried stone makes the house blend in with the landscape and acts as a thermal-mass wall, absorbing heat during the day and releasing it through the evening. The house was built on piers so that little of the natural landscape would be disturbed. 

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Tunquen Treasure
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Modern split-level plan house in Germany

Architect Reinhold Andris has lived in his house in southwestern Germany since 1998. Fifteen years on, the structure remains emblematic of his modernist perspective. “It’s a very open architecture,” he says, noting the near-invisible steel frame and pervasive use of glass. Unlike the traditional stone houses in the neighborhood, Andris’s home feels lightweight, thanks in part to the split-level plan and spatial fluidity.

Originally appeared in Steel Framed Split-Level Home in Germany
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Prefab cabin with fold out wall that opens onto lake

A compact recreational home on a sliver of an island in the Dutch countryside, the one-room Island House leaves a small footprint at only 225 square feet. A slide-out side wall and parallel glass walls, which support a gabled roof and provide a lengthwise view of the island, open up the home to the countryside, while the clever interior arrangement makes sure nothing gets in the way of the view. 

Courtesy of 
2by4-Architects
Originally appeared in Glass Prefab Cabin is Ultimate Outdoor Getaway
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Modern traditional Japanese engawa deck

After visiting too many overpriced, impossibly steep sites in the Los Angeles area, the Lais finally found a buildable lot in Culver City. Harboring a dilapidated 1950s home, the property was listed as a place to “build your own dream house,” and that’s just what the couple did. The new home's glass sliding doors facilitate indoor-outdoor living by connecting the living room and engawa deck, further emphasized by the room's floor-to-ceiling windows looking to the front yard. 

Originally appeared in A Dream House for the Ages
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Mechanical engineer Jan Moolsintong and industrial designer Peter Russell-Clarke get epic views of San Francisco from their 1,800-square-foot house overlooking the Mission District. At night, opening the entire top floor is a breeze.

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Lookout House Courtyard in Tasmania

The the Lookout House, designed by Room 11 Architects, commands jaw-dropping views of rugged Tasman Island and the peaceful Southern Ocean beyond. “The clients were interested in consolidating the considerable potential of the site, specifically its spectacular scenery,” architect Nathan Crump says. The firm achieved this by installing floor-to-ceiling windows across the entire eastern length of the dwelling, offering a dreamy panorama of the Australian coast. 

Photo by 
Originally appeared in One-of-a-Kind Glass Facade Gives Tasmanian House Unforgettable Views
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Modern small sustainable weekend home with flat roof

This retreat in Sonoma County, completed by architects Leslie and Julie Dowling, is comprised of two linked 1,000-square-foot wings. The volumes echo architect Philip Johnson’s 1949 Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut, though it avoids the 1949 structure's iconic exhibitionism. “Creating efficient space is valuable, but for us, rooms that offer visual and spatial continuity with nature are also important,” architect Julie Dowling explains.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in This Couple Achieves Their Glass House Goals
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modern house with cantelivered porch

In central Spain, a pair of architects craft a modern vacation home attuned to its pastoral setting. The top floor of the two-story, 1,614-square-foot abode barely pokes above the rocky hillside it’s built into. Sliding glass walls on two sides of the main living space open to expansive cantilevered decks showcasing the bucolic landscape.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in A Modern House in Rural Spain
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floating home living room renovation in Seattle, Washington

In 1999, native Seattleite Denise Draper fell in love with the location of a prime end slip in a marina on Seattle’s Portage Bay. It took her ten years before she could renovate, but with the help of architect Ryan Mankoski of Ninebark Design Build, interior designer Kim Mankoski, and local builder Dyna Contracting, Draper ended up with a 1,000-square-foot seaside home that’s tuned in to its surroundings and wears its strong sustainable ethos on its walls.

Courtesy of 
Ninebark Studio
Originally appeared in A Renovated Boathouse on Seattle's Portage Bay
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Asymmetrical Handmade Cabin, The Netherlands

Fine craftsmanship underlies this collaboration between Zecc Architects and designer Roel van Norel in the quiet forest north of Utrecht. Bert Oostenbruggen planned the home's basic structure, including its unusual shutters, while van Norel handmade its bespoke wooden interior. The result is a thoughtful, versatile cabin that Oostenbruggen says lets the owners "flee daily life" while taking in as much or as little of nature as they like. 

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